Chapter 35

Outside the window of the Winter Palace hung a pale crescent moon in the sky. We stood by the fireplace in my chamber. The fire burned away, casting its golden light over our faces. Valerina let me undo the laces of her bodice. Her heart pounded like a moth caught in a flame. I had to remind myself that standing before me was a fearsome assassin on the battlefield, someone who could draw enemy's blood without making a sound, but she was also a human, capable of feeling emotions and untamed desires.

I brought my lips to hers, hoping to dissipate her nervousness. She let out a soft moan into my mouth.

"No need to be nervous," I told her between kisses. "It's not like I haven't seen you before, and obviously it's not like we haven't had sex, is it?"

Vale pulled back to glare at me. Her de

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